Since the start of the pandemic, home prices have been rising twice as fast in car-dependent neighborhoods as in transit-accessible areas, according to newly released Redfin research. The trend may be only temporary as social distancing practices that made commuting by train, subway, or bus less practical begin to ease.
The median home sale price in car-dependent areas across the country has risen nearly 33% since January 2020 to a record $418,100, Redfin data shows. In transit-accessible neighborhoods, the median price has risen only by 16% but still reached a record of $540,500.
Fifty-six percent of homes in car-dependent neighborhoods sold for above asking price in May compared to 36% of transit-accessible homes, the Redfin study shows. Homes in car-dependent neighborhoods also tended to sell faster—an average of 19 days versus 38 days for transit-accessible homes.
“Remote work has allowed many home buyers to leave cities for far-flung suburbs,” says Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist. “Those suburbs often lack public transit, so new residents drive more often. Hopefully, a less frequent commute will mean fewer hours behind the wheel. But as offices reopen, we may see commuters who used to live in the city and use public transit spending more time driving and emitting more carbon. Governments need to plan for this new reality and start providing more green transit to areas outside of major cities.”